Music ed goes Web 2.0

New crop of music education apps are interactive, collaborative, connected.
Written by ZDNET Editors, Contributor

Although many public schools are gutting their music programs, music teachers and homeschoolers can take advantage of new software that utilizes Web 2.0 to assist with music lessons and collaboration online, reports eSchool News.

Software companies are developing programs such as eJamming, WorkshopLive, and In the Chair that let students compose and record music online and share it with their instructors.

Students can play in real time with others musicians by using eJamming, a software application that lets users plug their MIDI-enabled digital instruments into aUSB port and connect and play with up to seven other musicians in real time.

"Real-time, in-sync connectivity expands the possibilities of any music-teaching approach. The only limit is the teacher's imagination," said Gail Kantor, chief executive officer of eJamming. "We're seeing the genesis of a new teaching culture ... Plus, there's a 'cool factor' to e-jamming that will inspire students after class to connect and study together."

Teachers can also utilize Web cameras can be used for a more complete experience, she said. They can be pointed at a student's hands, so his or her teacher can review finger placement and motions

"These are things that you can do with eJamming that you can't do with traditional education," Kantor said. "It can be supplemental to a traditional education."

Another program, WorkshopLive, also offers virtual music lessons via a high-speed internet connection. The benefits of using a .wav file is that users can slow it down in real time without changing the pitch.

"Music education has been proven to lift students' learning abilities in all subjects," said David Smolover, founder and CEO of WorkshopLive. "Online education has been embraced by individuals, schools, leading universities, and corporations across the country. Broadband Internet access has experienced unprecedented growth."

Music software can supplement school music programs without adding a lot of additional cost.

"We're getting a tremendous amount of interest from school systems that are having a very difficult time supporting their music programs because of budget cutbacks," Smolover said. This winter, WorkshopLive will be piloted in a number of school districts across the nation.
In The Chair 2.0, developed by an Australian company, allows students to feel like they are playing in an orchestra or ban by simulating other parts. The company calls its simulated experience an online "flight simulator" for musicians.
"Students will feel that they are actually sitting in with the band or orchestra instead of simply reading sheet music off of a computer screen," said Jeremy Silver, CEO of Sibelius Software Ltd. who is partnering with Chair 2.0
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